FEBRUARY 15, 1956
CHICAGO—On Saturday of last week I went out to Detroit to speak at a dinner in the evening, and whenever I go to Detroit I have the fun of seeing my niece, Mrs. Edward Elliott, and her family. So we had a jolly tea party during the afternoon before I attended the dinner for Bonds for Israel and took a plane back to New York.
Most of Sunday morning at home I spent catching up on sleep but from three to five in the afternoon I attended a committee meeting for the American Association for the United Nations and at lunch and dinner I saw some friends.
On Monday Miss Corr and I started out on a short lecture trip, spending the night in Geneseo, N. Y. with one of my distant cousins, Mrs. R. Wadsworth. There, I spoke at the State Teachers College, but I will tell you more about that later.
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In New York City at present the question of fluoridation is being discussed. Some time ago I mentioned the statistics I received on two upstate cities which showed there apparently was some advantage to teeth if there was enough fluorine in drinking water. But at that time many people said that this had not been sufficiently well proved.
Now there are a number of scientific organizations that think it is a safeguard to children and adults when enough fluorine is put into the water to prevent tooth decay but not enough of it to affect the general health adversely.
My information says that tooth decay is a major New York City health problem. It affects 80 percent of our children under six and 95 percent of the older people. On the whole, it is a neglected problem because there is a shortage of dentists and the cost of dental treatment is so high that an inexpensive and automatic aid to the prevention of cavities would be an advantage.
All communal waters naturally contain some fluorine. Fluorine is a potential poison but some medical authorities say there is a tremendous margin of safety at the level of water fluoridation. Scientific studies have demonstrated that where the amount of fluorine is about one part to 1,000,000 parts of water, the population exhibits a 60 percent reduction in dental decay as compared with those in non-fluorine areas. If the water in an area does not have enough fluorine this can be supplemented by adding the necessary amount. The cost to New York City for installation of equipment would be about $450,000 and there would be an annual cost of nine cents per person per year.
It would seem that the time has come when sufficient investigation had been made and the taxpayers of New York City, as well as those of other cities throughout the country, would do well to consider recommending this improvement to their city government.